Greatest Film Directors: Quentin Tarantino

Have there been any directors over the past three decades better than QT?

With the trailer release for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood earlier this year, Quentin Tarantino has reclaimed the spotlight of Hollywood media. Famed for his outlandish movies and eccentric personality, Tarantino caters to both cult and mainstream audiences. He has recently teased retirement after completing his tenth movie, which is fast approaching with the release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood this coming July (his ninth film).

Who is he?
Quentin Tarantino is an American filmmaker, writer and actor, born in Tennessee.
The huge cultural impact Tarantino has had stems from his unconventional storytelling and satirical subjects, heavily influenced by the neo-noir genre and French New Wave. His passion for cinema is evident from interviews and speeches, often quoted for his famous words: “When people ask me if I went to film school, I tell them “No, I went to films.””

Tarantino’s movies aren’t for the faint-hearted due to their dark themes, often portrayed in a comedic manner. Tarantino is a major figure of cinematic history, heavily referenced in pop culture and regarded as one of the most influential directors still alive today.

Style and Auteurship
Tarantino’s films are distinctive for their offbeat style and brutal visuals. He often uses multiple narrative strands that sometimes interlink, or are sometimes unrelated, but always certainly bizarre. Tarantino is known for his skill in writing dialogue and always boasts a huge cast list with recurring collaborations.

Although highly detailed, there’s nothing small about Tarantino’s movies. Blazing shootouts, complex stories and criminal themes dominate Tarantino’s filmography, usually with elements of dark comedy. Fast-paced narratives, POV shots and suspenseful build-ups are trademarks of Tarantino, always promising viewers a wild (and insightful) movie experience.

And watch out for the Hitchcockian cameo appearances.


Tarantino’s Best Movies

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Source: vegancinephile

The Hateful Eight – 2015
As the most recent addition to Tarantino’s collection, The Hateful Eight is funny, tense and spectacularly thrilling. The film stars frequent collaborators Samuel L. Jackson and Tim Roth, alongside Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Set in post-Civil War Wyoming, two bounty hunters become stranded on a mountain pass, along with a prisoner, a sheriff and four other strangers. But of course, it isn’t a peaceful encounter when Tarantino’s in charge.

The Hateful Eight is chock full of action sequences and masterly executed plot-twists. The acute direction of the film make it reminiscent of a stage play, with some crude scenes and gory effects giving it that Tarantino pizzazz.

The Hateful Eight received mostly positive reviews upon release, and even an extended version on Netflix, compiled into a four-part series with 25 minutes of added content.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 and II (2003/4)
The blood-stained yellow tracksuit and samurai sword is a common outfit choice for those wanting to flex their movie buff knowledge at costume parties. Uma Thurman leads Tarantino’s two-part film series as The Bride: a former assassin who wakes from a four-year coma. Not long after she awakens, The Bride starts on her vengeful hit-list of all those who have wronged her.

Both volumes of Kill Bill are irrevocably violent, even for a Tarantino film, but they never skimp on clever storytelling. Kill Bill is visually impeccable and relentlessly daring; The Bride’s passionate ruthlessness making her an icon in pop culture. Kill Bill’s brutality is carried off by motivated character development and superb acting, with a famous film score and roots in the “grindhouse” sub-genre.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)
As the indie movie that earned Tarantino his title, Reservoir Dogs follows eight gangsters attempting to carry out a diamond heist in LA. Their aliases – Mr. Blonde, Mr. Blue, Mr. Pink etc. – can’t mask the fact they’re amateurs, who believes themselves to have been set up by the police. Harvey Kietel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn and Steve Buscemi act alongside Tarantino himself, in a bloody and humorous tale of mishaps.

Tarantino conceals the heist itself from viewers, showing instead the planning and aftermath of the botched robbery. His use of in medias res and soundtrack dissonance make Reservoir Dogs stand out amongst other heist movies, lifting the genre to new, entertaining heights. It was the most highly regarded movie of Sundance Film Festival in 1992, with Empire magazine dubbing it the “Greatest Independent Film” ever made.

Django Unchained (2012)
Tarantino has received some controversy over his use of racial slurs. But here it’s undoubtedly necessary, witnessing the story of an ex-slave who collaborates with a German bounty hunter in 19th century Southern America. Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx lead the film with brimming chemistry, before coming face-to-face with a racist slave owner, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Tarantino is harsh and unrelenting in his blaxploitation of barbaric prejudice. While some scenes are humorously entertaining, others are difficult to keep your eyes on, never holding back on the heart-breaking savagery slaves were subject to. Intriguing, suspenseful and bitterly honest, Django Unchained was a hit amongst critics, accompanied by some interesting trivia facts to read up on after the movie, such as Leonardo’s real blood being spontaneously smeared over Kerry Washington’s face.

Pulp Fiction (1994)
Pulp Fiction is perhaps the pinnacle of all cult movies, spawning merchandise, parodies and analytical essays for years to come. Winning eight major awards – including an Oscar – as evidence of its brilliance, Pulp Fiction became a milestone of cinema. Despite multiple storylines and tons of characters, Tarantino maintains a sharp narrative focus and perfect pacing.

Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta are the chief stars of Pulp Fiction; their story bookended by appearances from Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer and Christopher Walken. Pulp Fiction is told non-chronologically, intersected by title cards that divide the film into chapters. While one tale follows two hitmen hunting for a briefcase (a prime example of the McGuffin prop in action), another depicts a couple robbing a diner. Pulp Fiction is ambitious in every possible way, and pulls it out of the bag in every funny, violent or mind-boggling scene.

Inglorious Basterds (2009)
Every film school throughout the world has probably analysed Inglorious Basterds to some extent. Whether it’s the opening dialogue scene, strudel conversation or Nazi bar sequence, Tarantino’s flair for dialogue is most evident in Inglorious Basterds. The stellar cast list includes Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Melanie Laurent and Diane Kruger, all living in Germany-occupied France.

A war movie is already brutal and action-packed by nature, but even more so when in the hands of Tarantino. Inglorious Basterds is flooded with undercover spies, murder and deceit, with Christoph Waltz’s portrayal of a Nazi officer now considered one of the best movie villains of cinema. As usual, Tarantino penned the script in addition to directing it, making his cinematic control prevail as an established auteur.

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